Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Notes from an English Garden

We awoke yesterday to bright sunshine and a slight frost. “Perfect for photographs,” my husband said, “do you need any?” – to accompany the articles I am commissioned to write, is what he meant to say.

Well as it happened, his offer was fortuitous. Whilst sitting in bed drinking our usual mugs of morning tea, I had completed a short introductory chapter to what will become a part of the ‘Cotswold Scrapbook’ that I am in the process of writing. Or maybe instead  it will take the form of a regular newsletter to go on my website – to be entitled something along the lines of ‘Jottings from an English Garden’. That aside, I jumped at Raymond’s offer of photos: they would act as a reminder of what I would be writing about, and be useful in all manner of ways.

My purpose yesterday was to catalogue every area of the garden, which over the last five years has become so tangled and overgrown, due to circumstances which I won’t cover here. We intend to spend 2009 reclaiming our acre of ground – not for the first time. We’ve been ‘reclaiming’ it over and over in sections ever since we moved here 40 years ago!

Wearing scarf and jerkin, and with pen and clipboard in hand (Raymond with his camera), we began in one corner and worked our way around each of my little ‘mini gardens’; it only took a half-hour but 53 photos later – and with frozen fingers – we had our starting point and returned to our warm living room to reflect over breakfast on the long check list I had by then compiled.

Was I depressed at all there is to do to bring the garden back into full production? Not a bit of it! Although the task is daunting, it was such a beautiful morning, snowdrops out, birds singing and honeysuckle shooting. Raymond was appalled at the overall mess, but I have the infuriating habit of not seeing what I don’t want to see! Of visualising what was, and will be, and not the here and now. Progress (with photos) will be recorded in my gardening blog/website - for the time being on the 'blog' page, and in an accompanying journal/diary. “Not another one ….?” do I hear? It’s my way of keeping track of what will become history, for this small patch of land with its old farmhouse has been here for over 400 years, the land of course for millennia and once under the sea. We are but a drop in the ocean. Documentation in anything I do is as essential for me as breathing, so forgive my indulgence.

Double click on any of the images to view them at a larger size.


  1. Pretty incredible to live in a house 400 years old. I lived in one over 200 yrs old and that was wonderful. Good luck with your garden. I love to read your life documentations.

  2. "Not a bit of it." I loved that. It brought to mind so many British books where a character says that, and then to hear a real Brit (is that rude to say 'Brit'?) say it! What a smile I have on my face! For a moment I thought the top photo had a yellow butterfly in it and then I realized it must be leaves. Is that a fence post in the background? Makes me think of a sculpture - a post of wood encircled with mesh wire. Would look pretty fancy with other elements attached. A garden feature for sure. Thanks for the visit. Now for a cuppa.

  3. Wonderful posting Ann - I felt I had been invited into your garden and a bit of your life - thank you for sharing it!

  4. It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? We love your garden. We love the incredible vegetables that come out of it and make for the most succulent of meals. We are amazed at the bounty of your fruit trees. We love that you have chickens sequestered in the back. We love that it is a bit tangled!!!

  5. Thankyou, Rosie. I was so unsure as to whether this would be of interest to anyone, but it is all part of my life this year. I am deliberating now as to where to post progress as my website blog is not as reader-friendly or interactive as this one.

    Thankyou, Bill. I can't promise how much will have been transformed when you and Kristi make your annual visit from South Carolina (I hope it WILL become an annual visit for you both), but I can promise there will still be plenty of tangle!

  6. will look forward to following the progress of your garden as we head into the spring - I so admire gardens that are loved...

  7. Jeane, thankyou so much. All the comments I have received will encourage me to continue. We DO love our garden, though it is a bit of a slave driver, but is also the catalyst for so many of the things I do and love. Not all of it is a disaster zone! Last night, I began the newsletter that will chart its progress this year and I will post details as to how to access it as soon as the first page is ready. Ann.
    (P.S. I have been spelling your name wrong, for which I apologise)

  8. I am pleased I found your blog(s), they are such a lovely place to be.

    Would you like to blog about the letter 'S'? I look forward to reading the words that you choose.

  9. Cait, thankyou - I will blog about 'S' and find a suitable pic to go with it.

  10. Ann,
    Thank you for visiting my Bluehaven Studio blog and inviting me to visit your blog. I will also visit your journal blog and mark both to return.
    Betsy Libbey